Jeremy Lin was not only the toast of the town in New York, but around the National Basketball Association during the 2011-12 season. The Harvard University alum set the Knicks on fire with his ascension to stardom, however his journey was much longer than most realize, thanks in large part to the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors' lack of faith in Lin.
Houston made the right choice by releasing Lin in the first place. Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic were the two point guards in Houston to start the 2011 season. Following injury to Lowry, Dragic stepped up and stepped into a bigger role, averaging nearly a double-double every night.
Goran Dragic earned himself a big payday with the Rockets after his incredible display last season. Instead, the Rockets let him sign with his former team, the Phoenix Suns, where he is most comfortable and in the perfect offense for Dragic's demeanor, the predecessor of Steve Nash.
The next terrible move the Houston Rockets made was overpaying for Jeremy Lin. Three years and $25 million dollars is owed to Lin by the 1994 & 1995 NBA Champions, a year after they had no interest in the player.
What changed their minds?
New York is a crazy place and the Knicks are a show like none other, showcasing their act on the greatest stage in the world. Nevertheless, Houston was swept up in the "Melo-drama" act that was Jeremy Lin and company. By company, I mean ruthless, selfish, greedy individuals who couldn't care less about winning, namely Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith.
Lin made everyone in that offense look brilliant, as he should have with Mike D'Antoni's high-octane offense. A majority of point guards amass huge stat lines while starting in D'Antoni's New York Knicks offense. Take a look back at Raymond Felton, Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby and Nate Robinson to get a sample of what the Knicks offense does for a point guard, as it did for Lin. Let's not even venture down the road of D'Antoni's time in Phoenix with a certain two-time NBA MVP.
I have no problem with Lin, other than I believe he will never exceed his hype. He is undersized, lacking the athletic ability to compete with the upper-echelon guards in the league and his turnovers are crushing to his teams' success. The New York Knicks were the hottest team in the NBA once the point guard entered the starting lineup, however, the more time he played, the more his teammates and the league made adjustments, while Lin didn't, which took a toll on him and his body.
In the end, Houston should have focused on retaining Lin from the start, and not buying into his hype by literally buying him for $25 million, just a year after releasing him. Lin will never be better or earn greater statistics than his line in New York last season. He will never play better offensively than he did in an offense that caters to point guards. Instead, the Western Conference is going to swallow him up and he will be the most overpaid 12th man in the league before his contract ends. The Rockets could have signed Dragic for one more year than Lin, for the same rate, and Houston already knew how successful he could be in their offense.
Sometimes the most simple idea is the best idea.
Follow Tony Piraro on Twitter @TonyPiraro
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